My thoughts have been turning for quite a while now to the many comments I’ve been hearing about change. Those comments about change were preceded for quite a while by comments about intensity. It seems to me that the intensity presaged change, which it usually does. And why would that surprise us? The whole of life is about change. We’ve learned for a long time that the only constant is change, and yet the thought of change continues to bring up such fear.
I am hearing from people—“people” meaning more than one—who are talking about preparing for 2012, concerned about what might happen. I would ask: How are you preparing for 2012? What are you preparing for? What do you know that I don’t? And if you really know it, I’d be interested in hearing it. But the fact is, I don’t believe we really know anything except what’s going on in the present moment; and in the present moment there is no need for fear. Everything is just fine in the present moment. When we stray outside that, we start getting ourselves into trouble.
I know from past experience—because I didn’t always look at things this way—that any of the fears I had, any of the predictions I had going on in my head, none of those came to anything. It applied equally to the things that I was looking forward to, that I had told life that I wanted to have and would now just wait for them to arrive. Well, nothing ever arrived in the form that I thought it should arrive in. So I’ve had the experience of both—good, bad, who knows, as they say. I can use my own experience as validation for what it is I’m talking about.
There have been lots of occasions in my life where there was plenty of room for fear, and I don’t think I was alone in that. In preparing to speak today, I reviewed some of them.
I remember clearly, although I was a child, the bombing in London in World War II—living at night underground in one particular tube station and coming out to drastically rearranged scenery every morning for quite a long time, as the bombing and resulting fires did their work. I didn’t have the same fears, of course, as the adults would, because I didn’t have the imagination that they would as to potential and actual consequences.
I also lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, where it looked as if the whole world was going up in smoke at any time. That didn’t happen either.
More recently I, together with lots of other people, lived through the Y2K scare where, as we were going into this second millennium—at least, the second recorded millennium in our civilization—all our electronics were going to quit and chaos would reign. That didn’t happen. There was no more chaos after that date, that January 1st 2000 date, than there had been before—and there was plenty of it before, of course. But there was nothing specifically caused by Y2K.
When I was thinking about these examples, I also noted how many times in how many different places, Old Testament and New, we were counseled to “fear not.” And all kinds of other things were said in the New Testament about perfect love casting out fear. So I’m aiming for perfection in the love department. I don’t want fear in my life—it doesn’t mean I won’t get it; it just means I don’t want it. And I know what to do with it when it comes.
Because of this Christmas season that we’re arriving into, I thought what must it have been like to be a shepherd on the night that Jesus was born? Whatever it was that was being described in the New Testament, something really remarkable must have been happening and it might have looked like the end of the world, because it was so remarkable. Who knows? I don’t know what that was. I just know that it was remarkable. So I can imagine what those shepherds would have felt like. The first words recorded from the angel to those shepherds were “Fear not.” (Luke 2:10) What looked like the end of the world actually was the beginning of something new and wonderful—at least the seeds were planted for that.
This is also in my life story: the things that I have feared most in my life have led to the most extraordinary gifts of blessing. I don’t expect that that will stop, as long as I keep my eye on the main game. It is not actually a game, but nonetheless you know what I mean by that. I choose to keep my eye on the fact that I am not living in a hostile universe. I’m living in a benevolent, loving universe; and whatever I conceive of as being disasters, catastrophes, or any of those things, actually are doorways into some new experience. That is the truth for me.
Something that occurred to me, relating to this topic, is recorded in Job 3:25&26. And in that, Job is saying:
For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.
I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.
There were some very important clues in there for me when I started considering those statements, because it points out that not only did fear not help anything for Job, but in fact, as it was put, the thing that he greatly feared came upon him. And also, he said, “I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.” Hello—isn’t that a recipe for disaster right there? Isn’t that a recipe for blocking a doorway through which assistance would come? I am not meaning to judge Job. Who knows what I would do with what happened to him, as it’s recorded? All I’m doing is making a point about that, that the way to respond to fear is not that way—it’s not to live in fear, it’s not to dedicate my future or yours to fear, which is what you do and what I would do, living in fear. That would mean I’m already destroying the life force that is trying to come through me, because I am not actually allowing it to come through me, because of fear.
Now I would like to turn around what Job had to say. I would like to say that the thing I greatly trust and love is come upon me. “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) I am in safety, I am at rest, I am quiet, and I will pay attention to that which is mine to do. Is that not a much more appealing prospect than the other one? It sure is for me. And adopting that stance allows for access to and through me for the spirits of love, truth and life. That is where I want to live, and from that place I can act intelligently. I came here to act—I didn’t come to theorize, learn more from books, and learn more concepts. I didn’t come to do that. There was a certain need to fill in some of that, a lot of that. But the purpose was so that I could act intelligently on this planet, and that is the purpose for you too—I wasn’t selected for special treatment.
Fear is debilitating. I know that from personal experience, and I also know it by observation. Love, truth and life are liberating. I know that from personal experience too and from seeing that in my friends who also believe it. That is where the juice is, and that is where I find joy.